New Website!

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Today I’m happy roll out my new blog That Jonathan Riggs: In Every Season. I’ve migrated to the self-hosted version of WordPress and with that comes a new address: If you bookmark my blog, please change the address to The site you are now reading will soon become inactive.

In Every Season intends to inform friends and colleagues of the goings-on of my life and career as a freelance musician, worship leader, and resurgent actor. It will also be a platform for my music education resources such as Diamond on the 1.

So, go on over, take a look, and tell me what you think. Thank you for your support.

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Thankful for the New Year


It’s been nice to take some time off from the normal hustle and bustle (replaced with holiday hustle and bustle I know) and celebrate the holidays. Our schedule feels a bit off because Lara worked at the hospital New Year’s Eve. We took our holiday more on the 1st and 2nd. But now I’m ready to get going and launch into 2013. Let’s do this. My gratitude list for the week:

  • Holidays with family
  • Staying home and out of airports / train stations / interstates for the holidays
  • Beginning of marathon training
  • Blu-Rays and Netflix
  • A new page
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Happy New Year

I trust that you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and whatever else you may have been celebrating. And I hope that you are safe, sound, and surrounded by loved ones. As I reflect on 2012, some of my favorite memories include:

  • Lara’s first backpacking trip
  • Running the 1/2 at the Country Music Marathon (running the full in 2013!)
  • Teaching at Song DISCovery conference
  • Happy Girl’s Blessing Party
  • Hymnish Songwriter’s retreat
  • My parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and cruise celebration
  • Attending the National Worship Leader’s conference
  • 18-year wedding anniversary
  • Beach vacation with the my wife’s family
  • Resurgence of acting work, including a commercial during the Music City Bowl and work on ABC’s Nashville

Some really fine memories. Nonetheless, I’m happy to see 2012 go. It’s been a hard year in many, many respects. I know that it’s been challenging for many of you too. Congratulations on making it through. Keep your head up. Here’s hoping (and praying and believing) for a prosperous 2013.

Backpacking Lara
My trooper of a wife
Tired after a run with two uncles and a cousin
Tired after a run with two uncles and a cousin
Happy Girl turned 14 and hosted her blessing party
Hymnish songwriter's retreat
Hymnish songwriter’s retreat
IMG_0307 cruise
Celebrating my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary
Cousin Beach
2012 Nashville ABC Episode 8
And the Emmy for Best Concerned Neighbor in a Prime Time Soap Opera About the Country Music Industry goes to…
I almost kept the soul patch
Scouts Doodlebug and Scooter Man
Blue Eyes
Blue Eyes


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2012 – That’s a Wrap (Thankful Thursday)


Lara and I are privileged to live in our hometown with all of our family within a three-hour drive. We celebrated Christmas this week with four generations. What a blessing! Here’s my gratitude list for the week.

  • Emmanuel, God with us
  • Day of work on Nashville and the budding relationships I have there
  • The power of forgiveness and the healing of relationships
  • My children knowing their cousins, grandparents, and great-grandmother
  • Sweet potato casserole, sausage balls, and vanilla scones
  • Game time with extended family
  • Christmas morning trampoline bounce
  • The love my wife extends to make this time of year so special
  • A few days off for reflection and family time
  • Tears shed and angel wings earned




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Best Christmas Songs You’ve Never Heard

This post originally appeared on LifeWay Worship’s blog.

Well, it’s that time of year again and I know that many of you are swimming in last-minute choir rehearsals and church presentations. So, in the spirit of a little respite, I thought I’d share with you some lesser-known songs you won’t likely be singing in your church this Sunday, but nonetheless are some of my personal favorites.
What follows is a list, in no particular order, of songs you would likely hear coming from my iPod if you were to come to my house for dinner during this time of year. I’m also including a playlist at the bottom so you can hear them via LaLa’s music playing service. (If you’re not familiar with LaLa, they’ll let you listen one time for free. But they let you listen to the entire song, which is cool). I’ve chosen these because of the song itself, the performance, or both.

  • A Child Is Born by Oscar Petterson. This is a beautiful lullaby from a little known 1940′s radio Christmas drama. And who plays it better than Oscar?
  • In the Bleak Midwinter / O SanctissimaLiz Story delivers a nice touch on this tender hymn.
  • I Come With Love by Harry Connick Jr. OK, so we all know and love Harry, but this one is somewhat hidden among the other great tracks on his Harry for the Holidays CD. I checked this CD out from the library and was listening to it in shuffle mode. His presentation of the gospel stopped me in my tracks.
  • Cry of a Tiny Babe. This song is a great relief to the romanticized imagery so prevalent in church music. This is a gritty re-telling of the birth of Jesus and its implications for mankind. The best rendition that I know of is by its songwriter Bruce Cockburn for the Columbia Records Radio Hour. He is joined by Roseanne Cash, Rob Wasserman, and Lou Reed. I should warn you about Lou Reed. If you’re not used to Lou’s singing, it can be quite a shock to the system. To make matters worse (or better, depending on your perspective) he forgets how the song goes and tries to make it up as he goes along. The producers decided that it added charm and chose not to fix it. Hang in there though and you’ll get one of the best perspectives of the incarnation in popular song: “It isn’t to the palace that the Christ child comes, but to shepherds and street people, hookers, and bums.”
  • White Christmas by Ella Fitzgerald. Yes, we all know this song and love Bing’s rendition of it. However, this song really showcases Ella’s one-of-a-kind vocal quality. For my money, she is one of the best vocalists popular music has ever known. It’s also a great arrangement of horns / winds.

So, what about you? What are you favorite lesser-known songs of Christmas?

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Thankful Thursday

Caroling 1

For at least the last ten years I’ve gone Christmas caroling with my kids, friends, and their kids. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed it more than I did last night. Perhaps it’s the Sandy Hook tragedy for which I’m still grieving that made the sight and sound of our precious children singing Christmas carols all the more sweeter. Here’s my list for the week.

  • Celebrating a friend’s success at the Bluebird
  • A hard conversation that happened. And happened well.
  • Celebrating my daughter and her blossoming piano abilities
  • Seeing friends at an open house Christmas party
  • Playing with new friends at a new church
  • Auditions and piano lessons
  • The life of my children. My precious children.
IMG 1367


Caroling 2
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An Audition Tale

Well, here’s something you don’t see every day. At least not from me. Cirque du Soleil is having auditions in Atlanta this month. You have to apply and be selected to audition for them. Part of the application process was to shoot a video singing one of their pieces. I gave it a shot. I didn’t make it, but I did gain some experience shooting the video. Stupid thing should have taken an afternoon. It took me three days. I can tell my voice is tiring. Turns out the iSight camera on the MacBook / iPhone compensates light exposure by varying frames per second (fps) rate.

Who cares? No one. Unless you need multiple video clips with one audio file AND you need the video and audio to be in sync, because you know, I have lips. So, after hauling all of my gear to my in-laws’ empty house, I came home with video clips shot anywhere from 20 – 30 fps. It was mess.

In the end, after mixing and slicing and trying to get things to sync up and even recruiting Captain K-Man to take a look, I just shot the whole thing again. This time, I kept it simple. One take. No pitch correction (yeah, I know. There’s a couple of spots. Knock yourself out if you’d rather sing it.)

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